IdeasCity Comes to Athens with Tania Bruguera, Hito Steyerl, and John Akomfrah

The art scene in Athens keeps hotting up ahead of Documenta.

Tania Bruguera at TEDGlobal 2013 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Photo James Duncan Davidson.

New York’s IdeasCity and Greece’s NEON are joining forces for IdeasCity Athens, a five-day residency program culminating in a conference with a glittering array of speakers, including John Akomfrah, Hito Steyerl, and Tania Bruguera.

The residency program includes professionals from the fields of dance, art, journalism, literature, and civic planning. Selected from over 1,400 applicants, the 40 chosen “fellows” will live in the Athens Conservatory for the duration of the residency and will “transform the space into a multifunctional hub of cultural activity.”

The public conference, also held at the Athens Conservatory, will feature an international range of speakers, from the worlds of art, architecture, design, policy-making, and urbanism.

IdeasCity Athens aims to build on Ideas City Detroit, in which collaborations and discussions have already been initiated. They also intend to look at the city of Athens and the unique place it occupies in the world at this time.

The economic crisis in Europe has meant that the whole of Greece has undergone hardship in recent years, not to mention the further difficulties of the many refugees that have come to Greece, fleeing conflict. Despite this, IdeasCity are not the only arts organization to stage an event in the city, as Documenta will host its 14th edition in the city as well as in the traditional Kassel, in 2017.

As well as Steyerl and Bruguera, speakers will include Turkish historian Pelin Tan, British educator Nick Srnicek, and Dream Hampton, a filmmaker from Detroit.

Artist Theaster Gates in conversation with Fellows during IdeasCity Detroit in April 2016. Photo Justin Milhouse

Artist Theaster Gates in conversation with Fellows during IdeasCity Detroit in April 2016. Photo Justin Milhouse.

NEON Greece is a non-profit organization, that works on many impressive international projects in Greece including an eight-week project with the Marina Abramović Institute earlier this year. The project saw Abramović mentor a group of performance artists who took part in long durational performance projects.

IdeasCity was cofounded by Lisa Phillips and Karen Wong from New York’s New Museum and operates on the idea that the arts are essential to cities. Previous conferences have taken place in New York (2011, 2013, and 2015), Istanbul (2012), São Paulo (2013), and, last year in Detroit.

The IdeasCity Athens conference will take place at the Athens Conservatory on September 19–24, 2016 and is free of charge.

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